The silence that ails and the silence that heals

Silence is more than the absence of sound; there are noisy silences, there are crushing silences, there are complicit silences, and there are uncomfortable silences.

We live, without a doubt, in a noise society. We live hyperconnected with the outside and little connected with our inner selves. We need to have the radio or television on to cover up the silence, or to be chatting on our cell phones so as not to feel lonely. We are so accustomed to noise that remaining silent can generate anxiety and make us experience it as something negative. Silence makes us uncomfortable and makes us feel lonely, the flight to the outside distances us from our inner self, from those thoughts and emotions that we often do not want to hear.

The silence that makes us sick

For some people “suffering in silence” becomes a maxim. What we do not say and keep silent about can, over time, cause psychological suffering. How many people are afraid to say what they feel, or are afraid of what others will say if they tell what they feel, or are afraid that others will be angry or suffer because of what is happening to them; in this way they get used to not saying and build the belief that they are self-sufficient because others cannot help them.

These silences can become a heavy burden and transform into symptoms both physical (digestive problems, headaches, dermatitis, among others) and emotional (anxiety attacks, feelings of sadness, irritability, fears). It is then when they can no longer turn a deaf ear to what is happening to them and there is an awakening to the awareness of their emotions.

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The silence that heals

It is scientifically proven that our brain needs silence and that this is one of the best antidotes against stress. When we sleep the brain is still active and performs a series of actions that are necessary for its optimal functioning in wakefulness (hence the importance of sleep and all the cognitive and emotional disorders associated with sleep disorders).

However, creating that outward calm when we are awake does not seem so easy. The amount of stressful stimuli is constant and permanent, becoming distracting factors that take us away from the possibility of creating a quiet and noise-free space. Moreover, when we sit in silence we feel an imperious need to act, to move; excuses such as “it’s a waste of time”, “now I have to do other more important things”, “I can’t find the time to do it” flood us and become self-deceptions. But how often we say that we would get lost in the mountains or on a deserted beach to feel calmer, but it is not always possible and maybe it is not even necessary; we must learn to create spaces of silence in our daily lives.

Let’s turn off the TV, close the cell phone and sit in silence to listen to the sounds that surround us and feel our breathing for a few minutes each day; such simple gestures could be a good start.